MORRISTOWN (WATE) – A text message scam has been draining bank accounts in three East Tennessee counties.
Hundreds of people in Sevier, McMinn and Hamblen counties have gotten the message on their phone that makes it appear their debit card has been deactivated.
Some have lost money because they have fallen victim to the scam.
"Federal Bank Alert: your card starting with 4861 has been deactivated. Please call 423-665-1107," is the message Tina Arwood found on her cell phone.
Arwood is a customer at Jefferson Federal Bank. Like a lot of account holders there, her card begins with the number 4861.
Arwood says the message was no cause for suspicion and she called the local phone number.
"So I called it, it was a recording and it was real. I was really into it, so I put in my 16-digit card number," Arwood said.
It was only later that day, when she read a warning about the scam in the local paper, that she realized she could be in trouble.
"The next morning I called Jefferson Federal. They told me [the scammers] had tried to use my card nine times in Colorado, California, Florida, starting at 4:30 a.m. this morning," Arwood said.
Turns out the text message and the local number she dialed had nothing to do with her bank.
"They're asking you for the 16-digit number to your card. Once you punch it in, they have the ID to your card. They can use your information to purchase anything," said Det. David Stapleton, who is investigating the case for the Hamblen County Sheriff's Office.
Hundreds in the area have gotten the text.
"It's a very sound and legitimate scam that's working," Det. Stapleton explained.
If you get a text that looks like it could be from your bank, think twice before you act on it.
Every text message does not refer to just one bank. They're giving out different bank names and different local phone numbers in each case.
6 News tried to call back some of those phone numbers on Monday evening to listen to the automated message. Either no one picked up or the number was disconnected.
By MONA NAIR 6 News Reporter CAMP CREEK (WATE) – It's been two years since a deadly tornado hit the Camp Creek community in Greene County. Despite the time that's passed, when you look at the landscape,More >>
It has been two years since a deadly tornado hit the Camp Creek community in Greene County.More >>